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First Run of Raspberry Pi Boards To Be Completed Feb 20th

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the hurry-up-and-take-the-money dept.

Hardware 181

An anonymous reader writes "Raspberry Pi has confirmed the first batch of $35 PCs will be constructed on February 20. They've also coaxed Broadcom into releasing the datasheet for the board. Apparently the company hit a snag with the quartz crystal package so there was a manufacturing delay, but it's since been resolved and things are on schedule for later this month." From the announcements: "Eben and I may be going to China to make sure that the boards can be brought up properly for that date if necessary. We’ll be airfreighting them to the UK immediately, so you should be able to buy them before the end of the month."

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181 comments

Hot damn, it's about time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952845)

Hot damn, it's about time. Maybe then we won't see so many Pi stories?

I even want to buy one and I'm tired of the stories.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952881)

I predict all of the Pi stories will move from my Slashdot RSS feed to my Hackaday RSS feed.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952905)

Wait. I thought these were supposed to be **$25**?

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952937)

Wait. I thought these were supposed to be **$25**?

Yeah, and I thought they were coming without ethernet ports, but we were both wrong, and I'm happier for it.

If the $25 board came out first, I'd have to buy both flavors, this way I can just get the one I really want.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (4, Informative)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952953)

Read up on it for more information. This is my understanding of it:

  • The Model A (128 MB RAM, no ethernet port) is $25
  • The Model B (256 MB RAM, ethernet port) is $35

The first run is of the Model B, as they anticipate more people are interested in that set of hardware. Their FAQ [raspberrypi.org] likely provides more in-depth information that what I have provided here.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952981)

Because of the lack of Ethernet, the Model A is predicted to be more of a niche board aimed mostly at schools teaching programming. The Model B is more of a mainstream board with more practical features (thus the extra $10).

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953637)

I was thinking about tucking one of those nano-sized Wifi adapters to the Model A board. :)

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953707)

I am delighted by the Model B(and will probably soon own more than I can strictly justify...); but I must confess that I find the Model A's purpose in life to be a trifle baffling(except as a sort of 'arduino murderer for non-power-constrained applications').

If all of a school's other computer-related needs are already covered, getting together a programming environment equal or superior to a 700MHz linux box with 128 MB of RAM should be comparatively simple via LiveCD, PXE boot, VM, installing cygwin(or python for windows, or Visual Studio The First Hit is Free, Kid. Edition, or whatever).

If a school currently has deeply inadequate computer resources, the "Well, for $25/unit(plus monitor and peripherals, and probably a USB hub if the monitor doesn't include one, because 1 USB port isn't even enough for a mouse and keyboard, let alone flash drives and whatnot) we could buy a CS education setup or, for 35$/unit(plus monitor and peripherals, and a USB hub if needed for more than mouse and keyboard) we could buy a CS education setup that can also be pressed into service for internet stuff, and accessing/saving files from the other computer lab, etc." dilemma seems trivially tilted in favor of the revision B unit.

Even if these are designed to be a per-pupil thing, making the device more useful to its owner(and able to obtain additional tools without an existing computer and an SD cardreader, make programs that do HTTP stuff, etc.) seems like it would be worth the $10.

The value of ethernet only gets larger if there exists, or comes to exist, a toolkit for managing/updating/backing up/etc. the things over a network. Flashing SD cards is hardly a total killer; but these things don't have to be in service too long before the ability to perform operations across all of them over the network becomes worth the upfront cost...

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954219)

The sole purpose of the Model A, in my opinion, is for marketing purposes. This allows them to promote the "$25 computer".

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954535)

Believe it or not, there is a whole world of communication pariphials available well beyond ethernet. A ton of embedded projects absolutely do not require ethernet. Furthermore, a large number which do require something like ethernet will find wireless to be a far better match.

Having said that, it certainly is a selling point to declare, "$25 computer", but that's hardly the same thing as your implication that no one wants or even needs a tiny, flexable, powerful $25 computer without ethernet.

Hell, for $6 and wiring to the SPI interface on the Pi, you can have ethernet or bluetooth. For cheaper yet, you can have wireless communication via something like an nRF24L01P ($2.50 - $16.00; ~$25 for 1km range) module. And if you want xbee compatibility, expect to payout something like $50. Simply put, that $25 computer makes for lots of possibilities for lots of projects whereby the extra memory and ethernet interface is wasted.

Just because all YOU have is a hammer of knowledge, doesn't mean the world is a nail.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955645)

Exactly! I recently bought some Wireless N cards for $8. My purpose for these is server-like (Arduino-like almost) where 256mb is plenty. The $25 saves $2 and still gets N wifi.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954669)

The $25 model apparently got wireless network, meaning it would be a more mainstream board than the ethernet board. And that is basically it.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955175)

According to the present wiki information [elinux.org] Model A received "Onboard Network: None".

Neither model precludes a USB wifi dongle(and some stuff, particularly some RaLink, actually works); but it looks like the default options are either "None" or "10/100 ethernet provided by a SMSC9512 [smsc.com] USB hub/Ethernet controller hanging off the SoC's USB master port.

A case design allowing for a USB dongle to be installed; but protected inside the case, should be trivial enough; but is not default.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955275)

You can already get a $40 ARM computer, the Duinomite-Mega
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/olimex-duinomite-mega.html [dontronics-shop.com]

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

willaien (2494962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955575)

PIC32MX795F512H processor running at 80Mhz with 128KB RAM and 512KB Flash

So, less for more.

(Yes, I know, different intended environments, but, still, why do you bring it up as a comparison - they're made for entirely different markets.)

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955577)

There is only onchip memory. Linux is so bloat that it does not run on that.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953557)

Model A versions are $25. The model B with the ethernet and more memory are $35. Throw in taxes, shipping & packing and it's likely to be $50 or more.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953965)

I have serious doubts it's going to be $50 or over.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955479)

It fits in a padded mailer. Shipping to the US and packaging is 10 bucks, tops. And they are only charging VAT in Europe, so everyone else can just be tax cheats.

Where the real pain comes in is you need a 5v supply, keyboard, mouse, and display device. You might also want a case, but you can probably just leave it in the mailer with some cutouts for the cables.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952909)

One of two things will happen:

1) "The OpenPandora Method": Where things run along the lines of (but not this isn't *exactly* what happened to the OP): There's a delay, and then another, and then there's a problem, and the price rises, and we have only limited stock, and there's a component change, and a tax we forgot to add, and the stock has sunk into the ocean, and we need more money to complete the next batch, and the guy ran off with the components, and one of them melted and we need to do a recall, and, and...

2) The "Apple Ipad" Method: Stock turns up. Is sold out. Every time I go to buy one, the window of opportunity is about 14 and a half seconds right in the middle of the busiest part of the working day before the website crashes and Slashdotters buy up all the stock. After six months of trying to buy one, I give up.

I'm hoping for the second - at least that gives me *some* sort of chance if I'm quick and lucky.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

sharkytm (948956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952983)

Or the Asus Transformer Prime Method: Where the specs are repeatedly downgraded, delays arise, specs are downgraded again, delayed again, and finally its released without several features that were promised upon release. Features that are broken are simply removed from the spec sheet.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953097)

Umm, my Transformer Prime has all the features from the original spec sheet that led to me placing a preorder. The only thing I know of that has changed is they removed the GPS from the spec sheet after people complained it didn't work well. Anecdotal, but the GPS on mine works great. Also, it's hard to claim it was delayed when Asus never actually gave an official release date. But assuming you go by the Dec 27th release date given by a few vendors, it was delayed one whole month.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953187)

I thought that was called the Microsoft Windows Method.

Still waiting on my WinFS, you know.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

beachcoder (2281630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954019)

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954599)

Have seen that - but none of it mentions the killer feature that WinFS promised (and that even the Opera browser has managed to apply to my Gigabytes of email but not one OS vendor has managed to apply to even just my "documents" filesystem in a practical way) - file tagging and database-backed storage.

When I can do "Find all files on Project X dated last week" and have the query return as quickly as an SQL statement would execute WITHOUT needing indexing daemons, trawling over the disk, specific file organsiation, etc. to do so, then I'll consider WinFS as having arrived.

We need to kill off "directories/folders" and move to a label/tag-based database system instead. You can do it with Gigs of spam made of tiny 1kb files - why can't you do it with my filesystem indexes?

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955237)

I've been thinking of a "tagging" filesystem as a backburner idea, mostly toying with ideas to make it compatible with existing programs by giving it a directory structure. Say, for instance, all my files are tagged Qzukk automatically: everything I have is in /Qzukk/ then if I want to narrow it down, my music is in /Qzukk/music/, but let's say I want all the music, that would be in /music/ or from there I could get to my music in /music/Qzukk. To prevent loops, the filesystem could disallow /music/Qzukk/music/. I originally thought some logic would be in place so that subdirectories would consist only of the unique tags of the files you can see in that folder, so you can go to /music/Qzukk/europop/ but not /music/Qzukk/inbox/, but then there would be no compatible ways of making new tags and/or easily tagging files (mkdir /music/Qzukk/jpop/; mv 01-?????????.flac /music/Qzukk/jpop/). Permissions would have to be slightly rethought, a given tag could remove permissions but not add permissions, and file access would have to have all of the tags checked (since Bob's music would appear in /music/) before letting me access them.

The biggest problem by doing it this way would be that / would have hundreds of thousands of files and every program would choke and die opening the file browser before you could select one of those subdirectory tags. Second biggest would be dealing with conflict resolution between files named the same way but tagged differently (/mail/Qzukk/mbox vs /mail/Bob/mbox) though it could be solved by showing neither unless a special tool was used to set preferred tags to handle that case, or exclude certain tags (a visibility permission could help that, in the above permission case, if /Bob/ had other user's visibility set to none, those files would not exist to me).

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

beachcoder (2281630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955359)

If everything's tagged with something, you wouldn't need a / - at least, not a / that would list files; it would list available tags I suppose.

I don't know that conflict resolution would be an issue; you could have 'strong' and 'weak' tags - usernames and special filetypes would be 'strong' and generic things like 'music' could be weak.

Nice view of a filesystem btw. I like it.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953571)

Other than the GPS (which was removed from the spec, and even though it's still in there, it performs horribly for most users), what other spec was downgraded? And I'm not aware of any promised features that it was released without (though for all practical purposes, I'll accept GPS as an answer here since it's so bad it might as well not even exist). I'll grant you the GPS was a tremendous screw up on their part, but other than that you seem to be exaggerating. I'm not aware of anything else that changed.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

sharkytm (948956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953793)

Wifi Issues caused the initial delay, which was promised to be in early December 2011. BB and Amazon (and Asus) said it was for sale on pre-order for Dec. 8th. The total number of units shipped to cover the preorder was far far too little, and the retailers canceled quite a few of the preorders. Then we found out about the 128-bit encrypted, locked bootloader (even though Asus had talked about how much they liked the ROM community, and wanted to support.... after some pressure, Asus later "allowed" you to unlock at the expense of your warranty, which I can sort-of understand), plus the GPS being removed.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952999)

>

I'm hoping for the second - at least that gives me *some* sort of chance if I'm quick and lucky.

LOL! Having a bad day?

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953205)

Or 3) They make Millions of these boards and only sell thousands, stuck with a massive overstock, and the company goes bankrupt. I seriously doubt they will sell that many, since there are already many alternatives at low cost. If Roku can sell their box for $50 and still make a profit, the Pi can't be that big a deal.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (3, Informative)

Vairon (17314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954349)

They're only making them in batches of 10,000 so I don't think there's a risk of them over producing giving their current demand. If the number of people subscribed to the mailing list and raspberry pi forums is any indication of interest they will easily sell several 10,000 lots this year. Many people, myself included are interested in buying multiple of these devices each.

If you compare the $50 roku to the $35 raspberry pi, the $50 roku contains no ethernet port, no usb port and no SD card. It also only support 720P instead of the 1080P the raspberry PI supports. The $35 raspberry pi has more hardware features and is $15 less expensive than the $50 roku. The $50 roku does come with a remote control and free shipping which the $35 raspberry pi does not have.

Re:Hot damn, it's about time (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955443)

Or 3) They make Millions of these boards and only sell thousands, stuck with a massive overstock, and the company goes bankrupt. I seriously doubt they will sell that many, since there are already many alternatives at low cost. If Roku can sell their box for $50 and still make a profit, the Pi can't be that big a deal.

I don't know that Roku makes a profit on selling their hardware. They have a black-box content delivery mechanism. I think most of their money comes from content sales and deals, not the hardware.

What about shipping directly from China? (4, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952873)

For Asian markets, why dont they ship directly from China instead of moving them to UK first and then shipping them to their destinations
Infact, for all non EU destinations wont it make more sense to ship directly from China?
Will avoid multiple customs duties as well. (no customs will need to be paid for the UK entry)

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (2)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952923)

Liz has posted that "There’s actually a little more to the logistics than I’m able to tell you about at the moment, because we’re still in negotiations. You’re right, we’re not being quite as blunt-instrument about it as you think." so there may be some other shipping systems in place shortly after the 20th ... but we'll see

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955261)

I've been looking forward to it, where can I buy it in the US? Will I have to get it delivered, or will they be in stores?

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955465)

raspberrypi.com

That is the only place they will be sold in the foreseeable future.

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952961)

It sounds like they're planning on moving that way eventually, but it takes time to negotiate, etc when dealing with many different nations. From the official FAQ:

Will the device be available internationally?
We intend to ship worldwide from launch. We may establish a distribution network in due course.

How much will it cost to ship to [country X]?
We don’t know yet; we’re still negotiating about logistics. The people we’re talking to have local distribution points all over the world, so you can have your Raspberry Pi shipped from somewhere closer than the UK.

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952965)

wont it make more sense to ship directly from China?
Will avoid multiple customs duties as well. (no customs will need to be paid for the UK entry)

Alec Guinness voiceover: The customs laws are more complex than you can possibly imagine.

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (2)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952997)

That would involve setting up distribution channels in China. This is pure conjecture, but I would imagine that it would cost more in the end. Think about the consumer electronic devices you own. How many were made in China? How many were shipped to you directly from China?

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953213)

How many were made in China? How many were shipped to you directly from China?

Well, most were made in China/Thailand/Malaysia and shipped from those countries to local warehouses here in India
From there they were shipped/moved to my home

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (1)

Fallingwater (1465567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955135)

Think about the consumer electronic devices you own. How many were made in China? How many were shipped to you directly from China?

Since I discovered DealExtreme (and the like), a whole lot of them.
The Pi people could reach some sort of agreement with DX or some other HK-based (and not China-based - Chinese postal services are awful) site of that kind to distribute worldwide.

Re:What about shipping directly from China? (2)

Builder (103701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953157)

For a small company, why don't you setup multiple distribution channels and regional based logistics ?

Not constructed - Completed (4, Informative)

The Jynx (806942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952951)

Raspberry Pi has confirmed the first batch of $35 PCs will be constructed on February 20

To save any ambiguity, the actual release says:

The good news is that this finally means we have a date for the first batch: the boards will be finished on February 20

Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952969)

Another worthless project from the open sores community. Here's a rule of thumb you guys can use to judge how successful your efforts are: does it ship with linux? Yes: it will fail. No: it has a good chance of succeeding. Enjoy watching my prophecy come true, lin-suxers.

Re:Who cares? (3, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953015)

Troll, but:

Don't have a TomTom then?
Or one of the thousands of set-top boxes that use it?
Don't have a TV from a big-name manufacturer (e.g. Sony to name one) with media capabilities?
Don't have a Kindle?
Don't have an Android phone?

Seems to me that Sony, Kindle, Android, TomTom are all big-names and all in the consumer market where almost everyone has at least one themselves, or certainly know someone with one. That's without even trying to dig for more information, too.

P.S. How's Windows Phone coming along?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953909)

P.S. How's Windows Phone coming along?
 
I don't know by my iPhone is kicking my Droids ass. Not that Android is really open source anyway.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954353)

your missing many facts. on the other hand, if your travelling and your phone requires an update how do you do it ? my android does not lock itself if it wants an update, oh and jobs has passed on, its not a real apple anymore.

(troll) LOOOG!!!!!@

btw stop being negative, each user has (gender applicable here) own preferance, apple android, who cares. ps3 xbox who cares. its all about the money in the end. hey do you like green money or money? most people will say money. cause they don't care what color it is as long as its MONEY!

I say support the devs, not the companys, they make enough CASH MONEY from the media deals. (thats right coke and pepsi i'm looking at you.)

Re:Who cares? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953033)

It doesn't ship with Linux. Or any other operating system. You can buy an SD card with Linux pre-installed, but that's a separate purchase.

We appreciate your prediction that it has a good chance of succeeding.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953539)

or you can download an image from the foundation
or is that the empire and foundation
where's azimov when you need him.

Re:Who cares? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953701)

where's azimov when you need him.

The same place he's been since April 1992, dust in the wind. After his death his body was cremated and his ashes were not interred.

Re:Who cares? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955241)

The OS is a free (as in beer) download if you want to use your own SD, or you can buy an SD with the S preinstalled.

broadcom soc (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953065)

Anyone read the broadcom SOC doc in detail? I won't lie and claim I read the whole two hundred pages in detail but I did page thru it. Has anyone found any reason why it was secret? Superficially I've found nothing shocking or amazing. Sometimes there is something "new" which is cool and amazing. Think back to the first time you wrote a 16550 driver. The funniest thing I've found so far is a little example on page 11 where a 250 meg clock with a too-small implementation divider means you literally cannot run 300 baud RS232 with this dude. I liked reading about the GPIO system and the clocks that can drive them and spent at least 15 seconds thinking about how to drive a RC servo in hardware (not synthesizing level transitions in software, perhaps in an interrupt routine, but completely in hardware). I did something like that with a 68hc11 (I think?) back in the early 90s. The "real UART" vs the "mini UART" is kind of interesting/weird/worth looking at.

Re:broadcom soc (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953161)

Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

Complete speculation here, but hey, it's Slashdot: it's easy to say "There might be some important proprietary data somewhere in that 200 page technical document, best be safe and keep it private.", much harder to commit to "This is completely devoid of private information, let's make it public.". Couple this with the fact that, in normal situations, there's almost no demand for data like this from the general public (even among the techie crowd we get here, it's a niche) and you see why the data isn't released. Now in this case it's the core of a somewhat novel, hackable, as-open-as-reasonably-practicable design, so there is a relatively sizeable demand for the data - Broadcom saw this, put in the effort, and released it. Pretty good of them, if you ask me.

Re:broadcom soc (2)

blacksmith (42129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953185)

There's a fair amount that's been removed from this datasheet from the full BCM2835 one - all the parts that aren't accessible from the ARM have been taken out. It wasn't that these bits were secret per se, but that it took effort to produce the edited version.

Re:broadcom soc (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953489)

Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

This is a very competitive space, and Broadcom does not want a competitor to find a weakness in their product or duplicate a feature that other SOCs do not currently have (which may have been the reason this chip was used for the rasberry pi in the first place).

That said, I find it somewhat disappointing that an open source project is dependent on a chip that is not able to/does not release complete specifications. But at least (apparently) the important parts of the datasheet were released.

Re:broadcom soc (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953751)

Yeah that was exactly my point, I was not shocked by what I read. Oh look, it has a very-nearly 16550-compatible UART, be still my shuddering heart.

Supermarkets are a competitive marketplace too ... but a fairly bland commodity does not need to be kept secret. The grocery market business is pretty cutthroat, but you don't need to make it a secret that the 3 pound bag of gala apples contains gala apples, just need to sell it cheap and good condition.

Now if the chip had something utterly unexpected, like a hardware PID temperature controller for a makerbot extruder, that would be weird and worth keeping quiet until wide scale release. Or had weird embedded DRM. Or a new design for a hardware AES encryption onboard. But the SoC seems pretty standard and pedestrian at first glance... anyone find something interesting, unexpected, in there yet?

Incomplete. (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953949)

The "VideoCore IV" (aka BCM2763) is hardly mentioned, so the answer is that this document doesn't include the interesting parts. When they say it could be used to port a new OS to the chip, that port wouldn't include any interesting [accelerated] video output.

How quaint. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955025)

Any truly innovative bits will be patented.
Any non-innovative bits can generally be reverse engineered for relatively little money, by buying a device, and having it closely analysed.
The notion that the manual being secret buys you anything much, once the device is released is basically laughable.

Re:broadcom soc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955695)

This isn't an open hardware project, it is an education project that just happens to use open source software to further its goals. They will be releasing the gerbers and BOM eventually, but only in hopes that some chinese manufacturer will rip them off and mass produce it(since you can't even buy the chip in small quantities).

The RPi foundation wants a device to revitalize UK computer education. While they'd like to help out the electrical engineering side, that is not their focus, which is why they picked a chip that was cheap, capable, but not open, instead of doing something like the Arduino(cheap, open, limited) or the Beagle Board(open, capable, but not cheap).

They made the best choice for their goals, not the best choice for you.

Re:broadcom soc (0)

BiggerBadderBen (947100) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953495)

I've worked with a lot of chip companies over the years, and Broadcom is one of the worst when it comes to availability of collateral like datasheets and programmer manuals. To have access to anything beyond a marketing summary requires an NDA, and even then you only have access to a tiny list of things through one of the worst portals you've ever seen. As you've noted, there quite often isn't anything remarkable, but for some reason they feel it's important to lock it down. Contrast with a company like Freescale that makes all of their SoC datasheets available to anyone with a browser.

Re:broadcom soc (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953779)

My understanding is that anybody who obtains the full version of all Broadcom datasheets, unless placed under an NDA of Greater Warding, will have everything he needs to discover their CEO's true name(in The Old Tongue) by which he can be banished forever from the temporal plane.

Understandably, he is kind of touchy about that.

Re:broadcom soc (2)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953895)

>Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

It still is. Whole thing is a GPU/FPGA with glued in ARM core. They released all the ARM details, but omitted everything about GPU/FPGA.

Re:broadcom soc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954459)

It's an abridged datasheet. The real one is over 600 pages long. I work for Broadcomand have read most of it. I haven't downloadad the public one but I would guess it's missing almost everything on the VideoCore IV.

Re:broadcom soc (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955921)

The funniest thing I've found so far is a little example on page 11 where a 250 meg clock with a too-small implementation divider means you literally cannot run 300 baud RS232 with this dude.

As one of the people who needs 45 baud (I restore Teletype machines from the 1920s and 1930s [aetherltd.com]) this is mildly annoying. It's also irksome that in Linux, you specify one of a set of standard named constants for well known speeds. In Windows, you specify a baud rate to the driver as an integer, which allows nonstandard baud rates UNIX was built for the PDP-11, which had a serial device with 14 fixed baud rates (16 with an external clock.) DOS was designed for the IBM PC, which used an 8250 UART, of which the 16550 is a successor, and could be set to any baud rate in its range by setting the divisor. That distinction persists three decades later in Linux and Windows 7.

Are they going to make cases? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953129)

This sounds great for some enthusiasts, but to use this as your primary STB with no case (just bare board) sitting on my cabinet, come on.

Re:Are they going to make cases? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953273)

That's why multiple groups, including the Foundation itself, plan to manufacture cases. Isn't that wonderful? (Cases will not be available from the Foundation at launch.)

Re:Are they going to make cases? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953277)

.. with no case (just bare board)...

I made a quick check and if you have a replicator or access to one or a friend with one, thingiverse seems to be flooded with different case designs for the pi. I would not be surprised if a replicator owner would squirt one out for you in exchange for a six pack.

I have noticed over the years that /. is stereotypically wimpy about basic handyman skills... Buy a box at radio shack or home depot electronics dept and drill a couple holes in it, no problemo...

Re:Are they going to make cases? (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955559)

I have noticed over the years that /. is stereotypically wimpy about basic handyman skills... Buy a box at radio shack or home depot electronics dept and drill a couple holes in it, no problemo...

Use a cardboard box.

Re:Are they going to make cases? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953313)

Already some great cases proposed here

http://www.raspberrypiforums.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9

Re:Are they going to make cases? (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953419)

Until you can buy or print a tailored case made for this device, note that a Penguins or Altoids tin appears to be a perfect fit (after cutting holes for the ports that stick out).

Re:Are they going to make cases? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955543)

Sorry, no. According to the FAQ, it won't fit in an Altoids tin because of the rounded corners.

Re:Are they going to make cases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954473)

Gaffer tape it to the back of your TV.

Re:Are they going to make cases? (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954841)

Case? Where we're going, we don't need cases...

If you have a monitor with built-in speakers, and a built-in USB hub, that is all you need.
Plug the Pi into the USB hub as both master (to control USB) and slave (to suckle power from the USB hub). Plug Ethernet into the Pi. Plug wireless keyboard/mouse dongle into the USB hub. Add one HDMI cable to the monitor.

Then, use *** DOUBLE SIDED FOAM TAPE ** to attach the Pi to the back of the monitor. Simple, elegant computer. If you tidy up the cables in the back, then the only cables you see are monitor power and ethernet. That is nice for the price.

sheepish question (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953315)

Apparently the company hit a snag with the quartz crystal package

What does the quartz crystal do? Is it like the crystal radio I made when I was 9? Does the Pi do wi-fi via a cat's whisker? Or does the quartz crystal control the clock like my dad's wristwatch? Or is it a "healing crystal" for absorbing the dangerous electromagnetic radiation that the Pi almost certainly emits. Wait, it says the "quartz crystal package". Does the Pi come embedded in a crystal???

Please excuse me for not being geek enough to know this already. I had no idea that computer boards had quartz crystals on them.

Re:sheepish question (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953417)

The clock oscillator on pretty much every board is based on a quartz crystal oscillator. (or, maybe, a silicon ring resonator, but my money's on a regular XO of some sort).

They're available in a myriad of sizes and configurations and while there's some basic standards, there are variations among mfrs, not so much in the pad layout, but in things like how far the weld on the can sticks out, and so forth.

Re:sheepish question (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953573)

Quoting user shirro from the Raspberry Pi comments [raspberrypi.org]:

Quartz crystals provide a clock signal that regulates all the other components. They utilize the mechanical resonance of the crystal to produce a stable electrical oscillator. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_oscillator [wikipedia.org]

Digital circuits such as microprocessors have delays in processing and moving data about and a clock is required to regulate the system so that data is not read before it is available. Different parts move at different speeds and the master clock is divided down to appropriate rates for each component of the system.

Re:sheepish question (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954447)

I had no idea that quartz crystals are still used for time keeping on computer chipsets. Thanks for the education, all. I figured that by now it would all be silicon.

I feel warmer toward my equipment knowing this.

Re:sheepish question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953797)

Or does the quartz crystal control the clock like my dad's wristwatch?

This one.

Nearly all digital circuits have crystals on them. Digital logic has to be "clocked" so that all of the gates in the circuit work together in lockstep. When you hear When you hear about a processor that runs at X megahertz, a crystal is what generates that frequency. (Or more likely, some multiple/divisor of it.) There are other ways to generate a main clock signal, but quartz crystals are most common because they are extremely stable, reliable, and cheap.

The "crystal" in a crystal radio refers to the diode (or cat's whisker, if you're a real geezer), and is not the same as a crystal in an oscillator.

Re:sheepish question (3, Informative)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954043)

Quartz crystals for geeks 101:

Quartz crystals are the basis of reliable, relatively frequency stable oscillators. They are at the heart of most every computer system of any size or complexity (yes, some use RC oscillators, others use more exotic stuff, but, we're talking the 99% here...)

Without a reliable time source, you cannot do asynchronous serial communications and any number of other things that require your computer to have the same sense of time as another computer it is attempting to talk to.

These same crystals are also at the frequency basis for many radio systems for similar reasons, except in the radio realm the crystals can be used to control the radio frequency for transmitters and receivers to lock to each other without much tuning fuss.

Extra geek points if you remember the crystal color combinations to make Sleestak repellent noise (from Land of the Lost).

As much as I want one... (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953453)

I'd love to have one with more than 128 or 256MB ram. I wonder if the Broadcom SOC design allows for piggybacking a larger chip on top? I'm sure a model B with 1GB of RAM wouldn't be out of the question at a price point of $50. I realize we're just going more and more "I want" in price but I think it would be nice to have that extra headroom

Re:As much as I want one... (1)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954265)

I'd love to have one with more than 128 or 256MB ram. I wonder if the Broadcom SOC design allows for piggybacking a larger chip on top?
I'm sure a model B with 1GB of RAM wouldn't be out of the question at a price point of $50. I realize we're just going more and more "I want" in price but I think it would be nice to have that extra headroom

+1

Even 512MB RAM would be better. I still plan on getting (at least) one, but more RAM + MPEG-2 support would make its usage as an HD MythFrontend a lot more practical.

Re:As much as I want one... (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954291)

According to the foundation, the largest available PoP RAM chip of the required physical size manufactured at the time is 512Mb, it costs way more than twice of the price of the 256Mb one and is not yet available in the required volumes.
You'll have to wait for Rev.C & D boards ...

Biggest Issue is Supported Codecs (2)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953897)

It's not quite the Apple TV, Boxee or Roku killer... yet. While the SoC supports a fair number of codecs, only a small number are licensed at this point (see the Pi FAQ), and if you have hopes for Flash and Silverlight based streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) , that's not going to happen unless Chrome or Firefox release a browser with embedded support.

Re:Biggest Issue is Supported Codecs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954241)

I only have hopes for WebM and Theora support, and any future unlicensed codecs, so this is a non-issue.

Re:Biggest Issue is Supported Codecs (4, Interesting)

CaptainLard (1902452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955335)

Thankfully, this will NEVER be a ____ killer! For once we don't have to worry about losing development support when X device fails to achieve 25% market share by Q3. Thankfully, the PI is produced by a non-profit so no hedge fund manager can pull the plug when the projected growth rate increase drops below 50% or whatever they do in their volcano fortresses (I kid I kid).

...if you have hopes for Flash and Silverlight based streaming services...

How much widget-ry (advertising sources) do you even need? I have hopes that Raspberry Pi will accomplish their mission of letting whoever wants to program, learn how to program. In my opinion, the smarter the human race, the better. /naivedreams. And the best part about all of this is, if you do care enough about Hulu etc, you can just take chromium and adapt it to the PI or wait till it runs android apps, etc. I think the biggest issue is getting these things out to the people that want them.

Meh. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954193)

Is it just me or has all the hype caused anyone else to just wait for the 2nd gen?

Re:Meh. (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955717)

Is it just me or has all the hype caused anyone else to just wait for the 2nd gen?

I wouldn't hold your breath. There are maybe two things I could see them adding: built-in WiFi and more RAM. For wifi, you can simply use USB, and likely make it cheaper than a chip/antenna they could build in. For RAM, it's apparently not cost effective to go to 512MB at this point:

http://sdr-radio.com/http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/general-discussion/how-much-ram-does-the-bcm2835-support

First customers get them February 24th (-1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954347)

First returns by March 1st, out of business by the middle of the month amid blog posts of "Paying customers expected a working product? Who knew?"

Putting a "Told you so" stake in the ground here, for future reference.

How open is raspberry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955815)

Raspberry is not open. we don't have it's schematic or hardware documentation. Hence it is not fully hackable. It is also pretty much locked to particular chipset. The chipset may get pulled by broadcom any time. They should typically have relied on chipsets like the OMAP that is well documented and understood by a large number of developers. Well, I hope someone else takes the cue and builds on this one....

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